Scottish consumers that buy a single use carrier bag will now have to pay a minimum 5p for it.
Since 20 October, retailers in Scotland of all sizes must levy the charge on single use paper, plastic and biodegradable bags.
Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead (pictured at Tesco in Elgin) said: “I’m extremely proud that this landmark legislation is now in force. Our carrier bag addiction is symptomatic of our throwaway culture and has serious implications for the environment. Huge numbers of these bags end up as litter, blighting our communities and clogging up our seas and natural habitats, affecting many sorts of wildlife and marine species in particular.
“We want that to change and for people to stop and think about whether they really need to take another bag. Alternatives like bags for life are easy to get and much more sustainable.
“It’s extremely heartening to see so many retailers have signed up to the Carrier Bag Commitment, which includes a pledge to donate money raised through the charge to good causes around Scotland. Preparations for the charge coming in have been months in the planning and my thanks go to all those involved.
“We’ve seen that similar charges have been extremely successful in other countries such as Wales and Northern Ireland. I’m confident that Scotland can experience similar benefits and look forward to seeing a significant reduction in our use of carrier bags over the coming months and years.”